Thursday -- September 2, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.85     Water Temperature: 84

Right now the contitions on the island are perfect. Warm clear water for fishing and swimming, and sunny warm weather without the humidity. I'm trying to enjoy it while it lasts, I heard that there is a hurricane approaching which could spoil everything.

See you at the Regatta/Mudfest.

Friday -- September 3, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 84

TGIF. It's been hard adjusting to this back to school schedule, but it is nice to be up early and watch the day break on the island. It really is a wonderful time of day.

Saturday -- September 4, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 84

Wednesday -- September 8, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 76

They have been working along the canal this week. They're removing all of the fallen trees from the canal. It looks much better and maybe it will help keep the canal from overflowing.

There were two red-shouldered hawks screeching to each other on the island yesterday. I suspect that it was the breeding pair from Cabin John island. It was also nice to hear the crows yesterday. I've missed having these sentries around. They are so vigilant and they alert me every time there is a raptor in the area.

I've been busy rearranging things in my quarters. I made room in the kid's room and I plan to get a new wardrobe my room. There is also a lot of painting to be done.

Thursday -- September 9, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.9     Water Temperature: 76

The river is predicted to go up to seven feet tomorrow and may reach ten feet over the weekend.

There was a good turnout for the meeting last night and there was a vote to keep any new renovations to the building within the current footprint of the existing building.

Monday -- September 13, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.5     Water Temperature: 71

Have you ever heard of swimming squirrels? The first time I saw one I thought it was a fluke. Months ago, I saw a squirrel fall from a large sycamore growing out over the slough from the Maryland shore. The surviver then efficiently swam to the island. At the time I wasn't sure of what I saw, I never thought of squirrels as swimmers before. But now I realize that swimming is just another of one of these cunning animal's tricks.
Yesterday as I was pulling the ferry back to the island I noticed something falling, no, floating from 25 feet up the tall sycamore just upriver from the ferry. At first I thought it was a stick but then it made a big belly-flop splash and I knew it had to be a squirrel. I hurried the ferry to the island and ran up the bank in time to see the dripping wet squirrel climb a tree to safty. As I stood there pondering this phenomenon I heard another splash and I was utterly shocked to see another little adventurer scramble up the back to the safty of the trees.
What I thought was extremely rare behavior for a squirrel is apparently just part of a normal commute to sycamore island.
Are these squirrels new to the island or is it possible that these are returning squirrels who evacuated the island in order to avoid the flood? I don't know the answer but I'm learning to never underestimate the intelligence of animals. I guess if they were real smart they would walk along the power lines to the island.

Tuesday -- September 14, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.2     Water Temperature: 71

There was a thick fog on the river this morning that turned into a beautiful pink glow in the early morning sunlight.

I had a visit yesterday from a man whose parents met on sycamore island back in the 1930's. He and his wife were very pleased to see the island, he hadn't been here since he was six years old. His mother is still living and he said she would be happy to write something about her early days here on the island.

Wednesday -- September 15, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.9     Water Temperature: 71

The island is still decorated by the yellow flowers of the jewel weed but this rainy weather and high river make it seem like the new fall season is underway.

I had a good look at one of our resident red-shouldered hawks. It swooped down off the bridge as I approached.

Friday -- September 17, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.9     Water Temperature: 71

It looks like it's going to be another weekend where the island will be closed. Let's hope we don't get too much rain. I've already started making preparations for the high water, Ill let you know if I need help.

I saw the ground hog yesterday as it slid under the house. I guess it's making digs for the winter. If the water gets high enough it may drive that pesky ground hog off the island.

Saturday -- September 18, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.8     Water Temperature: 71

The ferry will probably close before the day is over. They are predicting a crest of about ten feet so I'll be busy moving tables and grills, etc. if anyone wants to come down and help with flood preparations.

I've seen the red-shouldered hawk every day this week. There seems to be an excessive amount of beaver activity on the island as well.

Monday -- September 20, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 8.1     Water Temperature: 64

The waters are receding now but it looks like it will be a couple days before we can open the ferry again. There was some damage to the ferry railing when it got stuck on a tree branch, nothing serious.

Thank you to relief caretakers Renee and George Dunham. They did so much work here helping me get ready for the flood.

Wednesday -- September 22, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 5.0     Water Temperature: 64

The island is accessable again after three days of high water. There's a party today at noon and tomorrow I have 100 kids coming, I hope they don't mind getting muddy.

I haven't noticed any eagles lately but I seem to be spotting hawks every day.

Friday -- September 24, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 4.1     Water Temperature: 68

I managed to get all 100 kids and teaches onto and off of the island yesterday. It was no easy task with the way the ferry is now. It has given me new determination to fix our leaky boat. I plan to build some kind of temporary ferry so we have time to fix the other ferry right this time.

This was the third time I've hosted Lowell school and the kids always have a good time even though this was the first year they had any sunshine at all. My sister is a science teacher at the school and she lets me help her teach the kids about the plants and animals on Sycamore island, me being the resident naturalist and all.

I realized yesterday that the hawk I've been seeing lately is a juvenile red-shouldered hawk, not the sharpy I thought it was. I think this means that the nesting pair had at least one offsping and that we now have another resident hawk. This hawk isn't too bashful and Kaylen was able to get within 15 feet of it yesterday morning.

Sunday -- September 26, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.7     Water Temperature: 69

Yesterday I took my canoe up to Harper's Ferry and did some fantastic whitewater. We put in at Millville on the Shenandoah and did Bull's falls and the staircase. The water level was perfect and we managed to drum up enough courage to do the four/five foot drop over bulls's falls. Our canoe got filled with water as we hit the giant standing wave at the bottom but we managed to keep her upright and steer her to an eddy. What a blast!! I'm so glad that I finally did Bull's falls.

Monday -- September 27, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.6     Water Temperature: 70

Jim Drew caught a big bass yesterday. He caught it right off the head of the island. It was his biggest ever, five pounds and 22 inches long!

Tuesday -- September 28, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 3.5     Water Temperature: 70

The water is clearing up enough to go swimming again. But now we have more rain coming in.

Wednesday -- September 29, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 6.0     Water Temperature: 68

I didn't expect the recent rain to effect us that much, we only got an inch and a quarter on the island. Boy was I wrong. The river is already at six feet and is expected to crest on Thursday night at almost 10 feet! It looks like the ferry will be closed for the next three or four days, it may be closed for the entire weekend. Let's hope not.

Thursday -- September 30, 2004
Water Level at Little Falls: 8.6     Water Temperature: 67

The river is still creeping up. This high water is a hassle but I feel so fortunate that we didn't get a real serious flood.

I decided to take advantage of the high river level and beach the ferry. You've heard me complain about the pontoons full of water, so now I'm going to do something about it. John Stepko and I will repair it this week.

The ferry is closed for the weekend due to high water.